A BITTER, POISONOUS RIVALRY
In pre-Mourinho times Liverpoo loved Chelsea. We rarely won at Anne’s Field and we generously finished below the Kopites every year. Then along came Abramovich and then Jose to transform our love affair with the Scousers. Suddenly we had the bad manners to start winning silverware on a regular basis while our previous friends got increasingly jealous.
Here follows a review of our caustic rivalry.
I won’t trawl through every fixture from yesteryear but try and select the most memorable or significant encounters from the last fifty years.
In 1965, Liverpool defeated the favourites Chelsea two-nil in an FA Cup semi final. The Blues had a goal disallowed and the Reds were awarded a penalty. It’s nice to know that referees were as ‘favourable’ then, as they are now. Chelsea did manage to defeat the Kopites four-nil in a league match as we chased the Division One Championship, but we crumbled as our fixtures piled up at the end of the season.
The following year, Liverpool [by now the Cup holders] were drawn at home to Chelsea in the tie of the third round in January 1966. The Reds scored almost from the kick-off but a young Osgood soon equalised before Tambling scored the winner in the second half with one of the best-ever counter-attacking goals by a Chelsea player. Liverpool went on to win the league a few months later, which only renders Chelsea’s triumph on Merseyside even more impressive.
In 1975 while the Blues were slipping towards the relegation abyss, they did mange to draw 2-2 at Shamfield with high-flying Liverpool. Trust Chelsea to raise their game against a top team whilst under-performing against lesser opponents.
This theme continued as Chelsea defeated Liverpool four-two in an FA Cup third round skirmish in 1978. Liverpool were the European champions and the Blues were struggling to avoid relegation. Just to prove that the win was no fluke, Chelsea promptly defeated the mighty Reds three-one in a league encounter several weeks later.
Then in March 1979, Petar Borota made his debut as relegation-bound Chelsea held Liverpool to a scoreless draw. The visitors were en route to another league championship.
In 1982 the Blues famously defeated the European champions again in an FA Cup tie whilst we were languishing in the mid-table of the Second Division. Peter Rhodes-Brown scored a fine solo effort, following a McDermott mistake and then Colin Lee capitalised on another Liverpool blunder in the second half.
Liverpool did avenge this cupset by winning at the Bridge a few years later as they proceeded to a league and cup double. Kenny Dalglish also famously scored the only goal at the Bridge which earned the Reds another league success.
In the spring of 1988 Chelsea held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in west London. Gordon Durie scored a penalty, after he had been tripped on the edge of the box. Liverpool also won a penalty soon after. Remarkably, Chelsea slid out of the First Division while Liverpool won the league once more, yet there seemed little to choose between the two protagonists on that day.
In the 1989-90 season, Liverpool’s last championship success was assisted by a 5-2 away win and a 4-1 demolition of Chelsea. Mind you, the over-rated Beasant was in goals for the Londoners, so that might provide nine good reasons why the Reds won so convincingly!
The following year of 1991 saw Liverpool’s title defence thwarted by Arsenal. Mediocre Chelsea managed to defeat both title challengers after Christmas, including a crucial four-two thumping of the Kopites in the spring which lovingly presented the championship to our neighbours Arsenil. Were they grateful? No, not really. Chelsea had yet again demonstrated their ability to cope with the best teams in the land while also losing seven-nil at Nottingham Forest around the same time. Ah yes, the Blues were always consistently inconsistent.
In the following campaign, both teams shared four goals at the Bridge in the autumn, before two members of the ‘Crazy Gang’, Vinnie Jones and Dennis Wise scored the historic goals in February 1992 that earned Chelsea their first league success at Ann’s Field since 1935.
Perhaps the greatest hard luck story in the pre-Mourinho era at Anne’s Field came in 1992 when Paul Elliott’s promising career was ended by a reckless tackle by Dean Saunders. It’s funny how this act of viciousness which resulted in legal action against Saunders has long since been brushed under the carpet by the Liverpool media propaganda machine. To make matters worse on that day, a mistake from Beasant conceded a late winner.
Neil Shipperley scored the only goal as Chelsea managed to overcome Liverpool again in the autumn of 1993.
In December 1995, McManaman and John Spencer shared two goals each in another thriller at the Bridge.
Liverpool thumped Chelsea five-one in the autumn of 1996 and then on New Year’s Day 1997, Robbie Di Matteo fired home the only goal of the match in west London. A few weeks later both lovers re-convened for a fourth round FA Cup tie at the same ground. Liverpool’s ‘Spice Boys’ coasted into a two-nil interval lead before Hughes, Vialli, and Zola shared four goals in a sensational second-half performance.
In the next season, the Reds took advantage of the sending-off of clumsy Lambourde to win four-two. The Blues avenged this reverse the following April by trouncing Liverpool four goals to one, with the assistance of a Hughes scissors kick and a rare goal from Steve Clarke.
Liverpool and Chelsea shared the points at Anne’s Field in 2001 when the lethal duo of Hasselbaink and Owen each scored twice. Jimmy Floyd scored at Shamfield again in August 2003 to mark the beginning of the Abramovich era with a late winner. Earlier, Juan Sebastian Veron had earned the Londoners the interval lead. The hosts were awarded a soft penalty which Owen missed. However, the muppet referee allowed him a second bite at the cherry after Cudicini was deemed to have moved too early. Well, justice was done with our late winner. Liverpool’s Cheyrou scored a rare goal as Liverpool mugged Chelsea at the Bridge the following January.
In fact, Liverpool had previously won twice at Shamfield with last-minute goals from Owen and Smicer.
Enter Mourinho in the summer of 2004. Chelsea managed to forgive and forget the lunge at Elliott from 1992 but when Lampard fouled Alonso on New Year’s Day of 2005 and Jose needled the Kopites at the Cardiff League cup final, then war was declared on us. The rest is history!
Not quite as rare as hen’s teeth and not quite as infrequent as the appearance of Halley’s Comet, Chelsea victories at Liverpool have nevertheless been a bit thin on the ground. Here follows our twelve to-date successful trips to visit our nice friends in Merseyside. They are all matches from the top flight of English football, unless otherwise stated.
25th December 1907: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 4
George Hilsdon, ‘the Gatling Gun’, scored the first and last goals of this contest. Chelsea led 2-1 at half time. Windridge and Henderson scored our other goals.
24th March 1913: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 2
Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 earlier in the season and now Chelsea did likewise. Charlie Freeman scored the winner, with only five minutes left.
18th October 1919: Liverpool 0 CHELSEA 1
A week earlier, Harold Brittan scored the only goal at home to Liverpool. Seven days later, he repeated the trick on behalf of the mid-table visitors.
27th February 1932: Liverpool 0 CHELSEA 2 [FA Cup]
Hughie Gallacher scored just before half time and then George Pearson did likewise just before full time to ensure an away win in this sixth round skirmish.
28th December 1935: Liverpool 2 CHELSEA 3
An Eric Oakton double gave Chelsea an early 2-0 lead and then Harry Burgess extended the lead to 3-1 fifteen minutes into the second half.
22nd January 1966: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 2 [FA Cup]
Roger Hunt scored in the second minute for the cup-holders but Osgood soon equalised. Tambling then headed home an outstanding goal in the second half.
1st February 1992: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 2
Vinnie Jones scored in a 2-2 draw against the Reds before Christmas. He did so again as he opened the scoring. Wise then netted the winner for a famous win.
17th August 2003: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 2
Juan Veron gave Chelsea a half-time lead. Michael Owen then equalised from a re-taken penalty. However, Hasselbaink then ensured that justice was done.
1st January 2005: Liverpool 0 CHELSEA 1
For the second time in the season, Joe Cole scored the only goal between the two teams. The Kopites were unamused by a bad Lampard tackle on Alonso.
2nd October 2005: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 4
Four days after an Anfield bore draw, Chelsea routed their foe. Lampard and Duff gave the Blues a 2-1 interval lead. Cole and Geremi then added to the feast.
8th April 2009: Liverpool 1 CHELSEA 3 [UEFA Champions League]
Torres gave hotly-fancied Liverpool an early lead. However, Ivanovic headed his first two goals for Chelsea either side of half time. Drogba added a third goal.
2nd May 2010: Liverpool 0 CHELSEA 2
Drogba took advantage of a careless back pass from Gerrard to give Chelsea an interval lead. Lampard then sealed the victory with a close-range effort.
[The author can be stalked at http://chelsea.thefootballnetwork.net]
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